Dante Pettis is a natural athlete.
His father Gary is currently the third base coach for the Texas Rangers and was known as one of the fastest players in the MLB during his playing days. His cousin Austin starred at wide receiver for Boise State and is now a member of the St. Louis Rams.
A three-star prospect, Pettis is one of California's top sleepers and determined to make his own legacy. The Junipero Serra athlete plays both defensive back and wide receiver and has picked up offers from Nevada, San Diego State, Villanova and most recently SMU.
"My dad is friends with some of the coaches over at SMU so he told them about me and gave them my film," Pettis said. "Coach (Dan) Morrison called me on Wednesday night and offered me. It was pretty unexpected since I had never heard from them before. But I was pretty excited about it."
With only a few spots remaining in the 2014 class, the Mustangs are still looking to add a physical receiver on the outside, and Pettis could fill that void. While some schools are looking at Pettis as a safety, SMU is targeting Pettis as a wide out.
"Coach Morrison said they definitely want me as a receiver. We talked a lot about the offense. We run a spread here at Serra, but it's not like the Run N' Shoot," Pettis said. "They throw the ball almost every down so it's an offense I would really like to play in. He also told me about the new conference they're in, and I wouldn't mind playing in it. It's still good football."
Pettis says he currently has no favorites and doesn't have any official visits scheduled. He would like to see the schools interested in him after the season and make a decision in December or January.
In fact, the only unofficial visit Pettis took this summer was to San Diego State.
"I went down there with my dad. We took a look at the facilities and the campus, and everything was really nice. They are looking at me as a safety and corner. The thing that really stands out about them is how often they keep in contact with me," Pettis said. "I like Nevada too because they want me to play wide receiver."
Pettis prefers wide receiver, which gives SMU a better chance at landing the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder. But for now, he's just looking to learn more about the program.
"I would say my interest level in SMU is medium because I just started talking to them," he said. "I want to visit so I just have to talk to my dad to see what our schedule is like. But I really like the offense, and I love the Dallas-area."
This season, Pettis has caught 35 passes for 630 yards and eight touchdowns. Pettis is focused on winning the next two games and helping Junipero Serra reach the playoffs.
Pettis is also a big track guy. This spring, he won two titles at the Orange County Championships by running the 200 in 21.84 seconds and leaping 22-8 ¼ in the long jump.
In order to help balance his senior season and the recruiting process, Pettis has turned to Austin for advice.
"He's just been telling me not to jump into something too early but at the same time, he said I can't wait too long to make a decision," Pettis said. "Austin is great. I grew up going to his games, and I've learned a lot from him."
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